A virtual lifeline for local art

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and has forced Australians into changing how they live.

With social distancing and self-isolation being the new norm, the pandemic has damaged not just our economy but our very culture.

An empty art gallery, a familiar sight in these times. Photo: Kevin Dell.

The City of Perth however is seeking to fight this damage by bringing the works of local artists to an online space.

‘Visit Perth Online’ is an upcoming project launched by the city with the goal of promoting Perth’s unique cultural identity while fostering a sense of belonging and supporting community well-being.

Local artists have submitted their work to be showcased online by the City of Perth as either a minor activation or a major immersive experience.

Minor activations may include works such as Aboriginal storytelling, music performances and dance workshops and will be showcased online from May 15 to the June 28.

Major immersive experiences will run from June 22 to August 2 and will be on a larger scale such as digital community art projects, online music festivals and interactive experiences like virtual reality.

Noongar artist Kevin Bynder thinks the project is the best of a bad situation and believes art can only truly be appreciated in person.

Artwork by Perth’s Kevin Bynder. Photo: Kevin Bynder.

“With what’s going on in the world I suppose you haven’t got much choice,” says Mr Bynder.

“Art is very important though, it’s very much been a part of culture since time began,” he says.

“Not only is it good to look at but it gives us a theme of home and cosiness and that’s important to us.”

Mr Bynder hopes the shift to online is only temporary and will not be something that goes long term.

Artsource general manager Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle says the project is part of how artists are tackling the challenges presented by the restrictions.

“We are seeing fresh ways of expressing our experiences during the pandemic,” she says.

“Online zines, workshops, studio visits via zoom, video interviews and podcasts are bringing quality art directly into people’s homes and lives.”

She believes that commissioning artworks that inspire and speak to our communities will be more important than ever as artists adapt to the cultural shift caused by the virus.

All submissions will be available to view online for free across Facebook, YouTube, Zoom and other social media platforms.

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